I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention. –Diane Sawyer, television reporter for ABC, co-anchor for Good Morning America and former correspondent for 60 Minutes. Ranked by Forbes as one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.
You might cringe at the thoughts of your parents telling you to shut up and pay attention; I can remember my mother, in one of her calmer modes, repeating over and over again: “do what you are told.” As a kid this was certainly one of those mantras that I blew right through as a hyper-active lunatic who was more interested in the mass destruction of anything I could get my hands on. Furthermore, even though I did not know it, the root of this craziness was the inbred wiring of an entrepreneur, who these days, still does not like to be told what to do! BUT…the truth be told, it is pure disintegration that waits if we do not learn to take the direction given to us by those that have already traveled on the path that we so desire. In my capacity as a real estate coach and the father of five hyper active kids (P.S. you reap what you sow!), I have come to realize the true wisdom in my mother’s mantra. Run into enough brick walls and have enough personal and business challenges and you’ll eventually start to listen to the words of those better traveled!
You see there are many reasons why we don’t do what we are told to do…some good and some not so good. Primarily, most of us do not take the actions we are instructed to follow simply because we are fearful and don’t have enough humility to tell our teachers so. Instead we’ll yes the teacher, the coach, the boss, our parents, our spouses to death only to fall quietly into the painful abyss of fear. You might be thinking how you could possibly say, “I understand what you want me to do and I clearly see the merits, but I’m afraid.” The thought of even saying “I’m afraid” conjures up visions of the cowardly lion…what an awful thing to be compared to…so why not just say nothing, take no action, blow off the teacher, get a mediocre result and deal with the less painful consequences of dealing with it post the event and blaming everything but you. ABSURD! Why do you think we are living in such mediocrity? Why do you think so many of you are at the mercy of others? Why do you think so many people are unhappy and turn to alcohol and drugs to make the pain of living in fear go away? The other reason some of us don’t do what we are told is plain and simply insecurity! Our ego, the self defense mechanism of our insecurity, has to be fed like a wild animal! We’ll think to ourselves, “sure I know that teacher is smart, has already achieved what I want…BUT…I’m smart and I’m going to get it my own way! I’m going to show the world that I am a genius and that will fill my ego up and I’ll feel completely secure!” Remember the words of the richest man who ever lived, King Solomon…”there is nothing new under the sun”…So Stop Trying To Re-invent The Wheel! I’m not trying to dumb you down; I’m simply saying that all the raw ingredients are right in front of you including people that have already done what you want to do. Maybe even better…maybe somebody has already created the foundation for something that you want to take even further! No need to go back to zero, just pick up where they left off…past successes are the cornerstones for future innovations!
So what is the bottom line? The successes of the past leave us a wonderful roadmap for the future! All you have to do is be cognizant that it is fear and insecurity that are preventing you from really getting what you want. You need to first figure out what it is that you do indeed really want to accomplish! Without knowing what you want then it’s hard to even begin to ask for help. But once you do know, then hurry out into the world and find somebody already doing it well and study them. Pay them whatever it takes to have a mind transfusion. Read books on them, their techniques and most importantly their struggles and challenges. You’ll soon realize that the majority of successful people have been knocked down many times and have found a way to get up. Most of those people are humbled by those beatings and are usually more than willing to tell you how to avoid them and even mentor you through the quagmires that you’ll face! But the key ingredient is to do EXACTLY what they tell you to do! DO NOT DEVIATE! That would be like following a pre-charted sailing course from Boston to London and deciding to change it even one degree…I’m not sure where you’d end up but they certainly would not be speaking with an English accent. Just follow the chart and that way if you fail you can return to the teacher and say that you “checked all the boxes” as I like to say. With all boxes checked it’s much easier to zero in on what went wrong. In other words, you can eliminate unnecessary personal shortcomings and expedite your success. Believe me when I tell you that I guarantee you that often time you will surprise yourself and realize your personal power had been simply waiting for you to give it a real chance. So the next time a teacher, mentor, or somebody who has simply done what you would like to do speaks, Just Do What You Are Told!